Even When I Was Child, Not the Best You Could Do
When I was a kid, the Looney Tunes characters were everywhere. I remember when Nickelodeon (a channel I don't so much watch anything on anymore, and that includes Nick at Nite) started playing a half hour block of them every night. This was something my family would actually sit down together and watch en masse. There weren't a lot of things that would get us to do that by then, and of course we all managed to disperse long enough to avoid the inevitable Bosco. Or Buddy, a distinction without a difference. But you still got an hour of Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings, I think on ABC. No, they hadn't made theatrical release ones in ages, but there were still places to watch them just on TV. Whereas the Cartoon Network (I don't watch anything on that channel anymore, either) didn't even do a New Year's marathon this year.
This is not a movie. This is an extended (79 minutes) clip show. It does start with the entire Oscar-winning "Knighty Knight Bugs," which leads into Bugs grousing about how Friz Freleng won an Oscar for it (not strictly true), while he got carrots. This segues badly into the first of three acts (explicitly labeled as such), which is about Yosemite Sam in Hell. Like you do. He is supposed to exchange his soul for Bugs Bunny's. Only of course Bugs always wins, and he eventually gives up. Act two is cartoons about the mob spliced together into a supposedly coherent storyline. Act three is the nominations for and presentation of the "Oswald," an award Friz supposedly gave for the best performance by a cartoon character. I think we get another whole cartoon here, "Three Little Bops." IMDB also says that we get all of "High Diving Hare" and "Birds Anonymous." It also says that we [i]don't[/i] get all of "Knighty Knight Bugs."
The problem is that, whether we do or don't, I'd rather just watch the cartoons. Even watching just a straight hour and a half of cartoons is preferable, and it's certainly something I've done before. Yes, okay, we used to watch [i]Mousterpiece Theatre[/i] when I was a child in which George Plimpton would talk at great length and with great pomposity (did he talk any other way?) about the psychosocial ramifications of Goofy cartoons or whatever. That was funny, or at least I remember that it was. However, for starters, they played the whole cartoon. They knew that was why we were there. They didn't even play it at a time when they expected little kids to be watching it, for all Disney now seems to assume that little kids are [i]always[/i] watching the Disney Channel. I've no real problem with making a full-length Looney Tunes movie, provided the person doing the voices gets it right, but this is not the way to go about it and never will be.
It may also be part of the problem that there is a greater importance in director than people realize, when it comes to Looney Tunes. You may note that, while we have Yosemite Sam, Pepé le Pew only gets a cameo. This is because the cartoons chosen here are Friz Freleng ones. Yosemite Sam, yes. Marvin the Martian, no. (Marvin, it should be noted, has been in more cartoons in about the last ten years, even counting the entire Duck Dodgers TV series as one thing, than he was during the entire Golden Age of Warner Bros. animation.) Bugs and Daffy are also slightly different in Freleng as opposed to Jones, creator of Pepé, Marvin, and Wile E. Coyote. And Bob McKimson is very different from the pair of them. Everyone, I think, gets the difference between Tex Avery cartoons and Chuck Jones cartoons, but I don't think people necessarily see that there's a difference between Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones. You have to really pay attention to see it, and most people don't.
As to why Friz did not technically win the Oscar, it's for the same reason Walt Disney, personally, had so many. Friz and Chuck did win Oscars eventually, and of course Chuck got a special honorary one. However, the award for Best Animated Short goes to [i]the producer[/i], or seems to have done until 1988. Which is why Walt managed to be nominated for four out of five nominees in 1938 (winning for "Ferdinand the Bull") and won every single year until 1940. The fact is, animation directors weren't considered very important by the studios until quite recently. Heck, writers for animated shows still aren't in the Screen Writers' Guild. After all, in this case, the Academy was created as appeasement. Even today, the awards don't necessarily go to the individual who deserves them. If you're listed as a producer, you get the Best Picture Oscar [i]even if[/i] all you do is find the money and give the director free rein. And while Bugs may have gotten carrots, since Friz Freleng worked at Termite Terrace, he got paid peanuts.